Celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the East African Community (EAC) were yesterday observed in Rwanda, with the launch of the East African iDeserve, a citizens-engagement campaign that seeks to reach more than 10 million East Africans over the next one year. The campaign, according to officials will give opportunity to East Africans to capture citizens’ aspirations of the EAC they want, real stories about the benefits the community has had on lives, and narrate the challenges citizens are facing that can be jointly addressed. The EAC regional intergovernmental organisation was formed on 30 November 1999 with the signing of a treaty between Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania - the original three partner states. To date, it has expanded to include Burundi, Rwanda, and South Sudan. The inaugural 20th-anniversary celebrations were marked on November 30 last year at the headquarters of the EAC in Arusha – Tanzania. However, a decision was taken to observe country-level celebrations in each of the member states. March 6, 2020, was Rwanda’s turn to celebrate the anniversary. The function, organised at the University of Rwanda Remera Campus, was attended by members of the East African Legislative Assembly, Rwandan government officials, students, among others who were tipped on the work of the EAC, its achievements and challenges. The officials urged people to take part in the EAC iDeserve campaign by sharing their views of the regional bloc. The campaign will among other things, include social media interfaces and regional youth videos and animations competition involving all the six EAC Partner States. A total prize of US$25,000 awaits the innovative 30 youthful winners in the competition. In an interview with media, Christophe Bazivamo, the EAC Deputy Secretary-General of Productive and Social Sectors echoed the need for more citizens engagement in the decision-making process. Noting that there are already some channels that help the bloc to make decisions basing on citizens’ interests, he said this is not enough and there is need for more emphasis on citizens’ engagement. Zeroing in on Rwanda, he urged that citizens need to examine how beneficial the EAC has been to their countries. “Rwanda entered the EAC after analyzing how beneficial it would be. We feel that it is good now to look and see how far we have reached,” he said. Bazivamo added that there are many things the bloc has achieved including easing the movement of people among the member states, giving people from different countries the opportunity to work with each other, among other things. He, however, said there are still challenges for the bloc, for example, the difficulty in the realisation of a common market. Diyana Gitera, the Director-General of the African Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation urged the youth to engage their ideas to the EAC, highlighting the need for a strong partnership of the young people from the member states. Steven Mlote, the current Deputy Secretary-General of the East African Community (EAC) in charge of Planning, Infrastructure, Finance and Administration hailed the citizens’ engagement campaign as one that instills better citizenship values in them. After Kigali, the iDeserve campaign is expected to be launched in Juba, South Sudan and Dodoma Tanzania.